Life of Fr. John of Kronstadt

from Orthodox Life magazine 1955 (4)


"The righteous themselves do not want glory; but we, who are as yet in this life need remembering them, so as to imitate them."
      (St. Basil the Great). 

Rev. Father John of Kronstadt, Russia's great righteous man, incomparably endowed with the gift of prayer, and with miraculous power, was born on October 19, 1829, at Soora, a large village in Pinejsky ouiezd*), government**) of Archangelsk, in the far North of Russia.  His father, Elias Sergiev, reader at the villiage church, and his mother Theo- dora, were people of very modest means.  They named their son John, for he was born on the day when the Holy Or- thodox Church was observing the memory of St. John of Rylsk. 

ouiezd*) – administrative subdivision.  corresponding to U.S. county, but usually larger.
government**) – administrative division in Russia, roughly corresponding to a State in America, or to a province in European countries.

In his early years, the boy, delicate in health, was slow in learning, which made him unhappy.  This feeling stimulated him to offer especially fervent prayers, asking God’s help. And miraculous help did not fail him. After one of those fervent prayers, deep in the night, the boy suddenly felt as if he were violently shaken; as if a curtain fell from his eyes, «as if the mind opened up in his head», he felt great ease and happiness. From then on he began to study very well. He became one of the best pupils in the grade parish school, graduated at the top of his class from the Archangelsk Theological Seminary, and was admitted on a Government scholarship to the St. Petersburg Ecclesiastical Academy. At this time, his father died, and his mother remained in extreme poverty. The loving son felt great concern over her state. Having found work as a copyist, he sent to his mother all he earned — 10 roubles a month, — and was happy he could thus support her. 

While studying at the Academy, John contemplated taking vows, and devoting himself to missionery activities among the natives of Siberia and Alaska. But, observing the life around him, he soon felt that the “savages” in civilized Petersburg needed not any less to be enlightened with the light of true Christian faith, than the natives of Siberia or Alaska. Meditating on which course to take, he had again one of the visions he had formerly as a child: In a dream, he saw himself being priest of St. Andrew Cathedral in Kronstadt, and accepted this dream as divine guidance. Having gradu- ated from the Academy, he married Elisabeth, daughter of archpriest Constantine Nesvitsky, to comply with the custom of the Eastern Orthodox Church which requires that secular priests be married. This marriage was, however, fictitious, needed as a cover of his selfless pastoral work. In reality, he lived with his wife as with a sister. “There are many happy families even without us, “ he said to his wife. «As to us, Liza, let us consecrate ourselves to ministering to God», And until the end of his days, he remained a virgin.

John was ordained priest on December 12, 1855, and was appointed to St. Andrew Cathedral in Kronstadt.  When he first entered the Cathedral, he was deeply moved, for it was the same church he saw in vision, when he was a child.  Since then, Father John lived and officiated in Kronstadt, so that his name —Sergiev —was almost forgotten, and he became generally known as Father John of Kronstadt. 

Kronstadt was the place to which the immoral and vicious persons were deported from St. Petersburg, the capi- tal of Russia. There were, besides, many unskilled workmen employed in the docks. These people lived on the outskirts of the city, in shacks and dugouts; many of them were beggars and drunkards. It was among them, that Father John began his ministry. Daily would he go to their wretched dwellings, would talk to them, comfort them in their miseries. He nursed the sick and helped the needy giving away all he had, so that many a time he would come home without part of his clothes, or even without shoes. By the strength of his compassionate love, Father John would restore to these poor people the human likeness which some of them had lost long since, and would make them men again. They, “the scum of the population”, were the first who “discovered” the saintliness of Father John. The discovery was soon accepted by all the faithful in Russia. 

But not only materially would Father John help the needy; not only morally would he, with his pastoral word, lift from the abyss of degradation. Soon was divulged in him the wonderful gift of miraculous power that made him renowned all through Russia, and even abroad. There ex- ists an exact record of Father John's first miracle, as he him- self told it to his fellow-priests. The narrative reflects deep humility: Father John recognized in this miracle “a new duty to God — to pray for those who will ask for his prayers”. And, through his prayers, many wonderful miracles were performed. The most severe diseases, when medicine could but admit its impotency, were cured by the prayers, or by laying on of hands of Father John. The healings would take place in privacy, and in the presence of multitudes of people as well. Quite often, healing would be performed in absentia. It was sometimes sufficient to write or wire to Father John, and miraculous healing would follow. Father John would heal alse Mohammedans and Jews, as well as foreigners who would address him from abroad. 

Soon, all the faithful Russians began flowing to the wonderworker.  Thus began the second period of his life, of his deeds.  At first, he himself would go to the people in one city only. Now, the people came to him, and came from every part of Russia. Thousands of people would come daily to Kronstadt, wishing to see Father John, and to receive help from him. Still many more would seek his help through the medium of mail or telegraph: the Kronstadt post office had to open a special department to handle his correspondence. With letters and telegrams, large sums of money would come to Father John for the charities. They can be estimated approximately only, for Father John would distribute the money right after receiving. According to the most conservative estimate, not less that one million roubles a year would pass through his hands. With this money, Father John would feed up to one thousand destitute persons daily. He established in Kronstadt a work shelter with a school, a church, workshops, and an orphanage. He founded in his native village a nunnery, and built a large stone church. And in Petersburg, he built a nunnery on Karpovka, where he was later buried. 

It is hard to appreciate the hardships and greatness of his deeds, without knowing how Father John spent his days. He used to rise at 3 a.m., and prepared himself for cel- ebrating the liturgy. About 4 a. m., he went to the Cathedral for the matins. Here, crowds of pilgrims would await him, to receive his blessing. There would also be many beggars, to whom Father John would distribute alms. At the matins, Father John always read the canon himself, considering this reading as very important. Before the liturgy, there was confession. Because of great number of people coming for confession, mass confession was instituted. These mass con- fessions produced an everlasting impression on every one present. Many would confess their sins aloud, unhampered by the presence of others. St. Andrew Cathedral, which could hold up to 5,000 people, was always filled to capacity, so that the communion lasted very long, and the liturgy would not end before noon. During the service, letters and telegrams would be brought into the altar, where Father John would read them, and pray for those who asked for his prayers. After the liturgy, Father John, followed by thousands of people, de- parted to Petersburg to visit the sick, and only seldom would he come home before midnight. It is most probable that on many nights he did not have time for sleep at all. To live and work like this was possible, of course, only with help of God. The very fame of Father John was for him the greatest and heaviest burden. Wherever he would go, his presence would always draw a crowd of people, striving, but to touch the worker of wonders. People reverencing him, would even run after his speeding carriage, grasping the wheels, disregarding the danger of being maimed. 

On request of the faithful, Father John had travel to different towns of Russia. These journeys were real triumphs of the humble minister of Christ. Crowds numbering tens of thousands would meet him, and every one would be filled with sincere faith and reverence, with fear of God, and with the desire to receive the healing blessing. When Father John traveled on a river boat, crowds of people would run along the banks. When the steamer would come near, many would kneel. 

Father John was a remarkable teacher. For 28 years, he taught religion at the high school and at the city grade school. His lessons would leave an ineffaceable and unforgettable impression on his pupils. But later, he had to discontinue teaching, for it was impossible to combine teaching with the task of pastoral ministry, which the great righteous man humbly took upon himself as an act of obedience to God. 

Father John also was a remarkable preacher. He preached simply, and mostly without preparation, extempore. He did not strive for impressive words or original expres- sions, but his sermons were distinguished by extraordinary vigor, penetration, and exceptional theological learning, and at the same time were easily understood by the simplest of the common people. 

Being extremely busy with his pastoral work, Father John, nevertheless, found time to keep a kind of spiritual di- ary, where he recorded daily the thoughts which would cross his mind during his prayer and contemplation, as a result of «illumination of the soul with Divine Grace that would be granted to him by the Holy Spirit». These thoughts were compiled in a remarkable book, published under the title: «My Life in Christ», The book is a true spiritual treasure, and can well bear comparison with the inspired works of the great ancient fathers of the Church, as well as of Christian ascetics .In the complete edition of works by Father John, published in 1893, «My Life in Christ» makes three vol- umes, over 1,000 pages total. This is a unique diary, which reflects spiritual life of the author. It will forever bear witness as to how this great and just man lived, as well as serve as a guidance for those who want to be Christians in deed and not in name only. 

Another remarkable memorial of the saintly person- ality of Father John, which contains inexhaustible material for instruction, is the collection of his sermons in three volumes, about 1,800 pages in all. Many more works of Father John were published in separate volumes. All his books and ser- mons truly are an emanation of the Holy Spirit, revealing to us the inexplorable depth of God's wisdom. Their wondrous originality is amazing — it appears in exposition, in thought, in feeling. Every word comes right from tne heart, reflecting deep faith and warmth. In thoughts — amazing depth and wisdom; wonderful clearness and simplicity in everything. No superfluous words, no highsounding phraseology. One cannot just “read” them — one must read them over and over again. And every time one will find in them some- thing new, something alive, something holy. 

"My Life in Christ" attracted general attention almost at once after its publication. It was translated into several foreign langauges. and become a favorite book of the ministers of the Anglican Church. 

The basic thought of all works by Father John is the need of sincere and fervent faith in God, and of living in accordance with this faith: in constant fight with one's passions and lusts; devotion to the faith and to the Eastern Orthodox Church, as the only one that saves. 

With regard to his fatherland — Russia, Father John revealed in himself the likeness of a mighty and awe- inspiring, prophet of God, preaching the truth, reproving falsehood, entreating to penitence, and predicting the com- ing wrath of God for the sins committed, and for apostasy from God. Being himself model of meekness and humility, of love for every human being, whatever be his nationality or religion, Father John regarded with greatest indignation the atheistic, materialistic, and liberalistic trends which were undermining the faith of Russian people, and break- ing up the millenial political organization of Russia. The events of the bloody Russian revolution, and the victory of the godless and man-hating communism, have demon- strated how right was Russian’s great righteous man in his awe-inspiring warnings and prophetic visions. 

Father John passed away on December 20, 1908, having foretold the day of his death. His funeral was attended by tens of thousands of people, and many miracles took place at his grave during the funeral, as well as afterwards. The funeral procession was quite an unusual one. Crowds of weeping people stood along the way in Kronstadt, in Oranienbaum, and from the Baltic Railway Terminal to the St. John Nunnery in Petersburg. Never before have there been such crowds at any funeral. The procession was escorted by the Army, with Colors flying, and military bands playing the hymn "How Glorified is Our Lord in Zion." The funeral service was conducted by three Metropolitans. Those who had kissed the hand of the deceased, witnessed that the hand did not grow cold, nor turned rigid. During the funeral services, many people wept, feeling as if they had lost one of their own parents. However, the Requiem Mass did not convey any sadness; it was reminiscent more of the brightness of the midnight Easter service, and the further the service proceeded, the more was the festive mood of the worshippers growing and expanding. It was being felt that some benevolent force emanated from the coffin, and filled the hearts of those present with a kind of unearthly happi- ness. It was clear to everyone that the deceased was a saintly, a righteous man, and that his spirit was moving unseen in the church, embracing with love and tenderness all those who came to render him the last homage.  

Father John was laid to rest in the chapel-sepulcher that was especially built for him on the basement floor of the Nunnery on Karpovka, which was founded by Father John. The walls of the chapel and the iconostasis were exquisitely finished in white marble. The tomb, likewise, was of white marble. 

Upon the prayers of Father John, many miracles came to pass, and are taking place even up to now. No one among the faithful has any doubt as to his sanctity, and the general desire is that he be canonized, — that the Church would of- ficially recognize his being in the saints. This forthcoming celebration of the canonization of Russia’s great righteous man will, indeed, be a great triumph of the Holy Eastern Orthodoxy. 

Bishop AVERKY.

True Shepherd - False Shepherd

Archbishop Averky: True shepherding as opposed to modern false pastoralism
Author: Online Cathedral. Publication date: June 12, 2019 . Category: ROCA Archive .,15700022,15700186,15700190,15700256,15700259,15700262&usg=ALkJrhjuvXplinVgT9VpPG8wjSjwQL9U0g

The purpose and task of true shepherding is clearly indicated to us by the greatest pillar of pastoral service, which can be a living model and example for pastors of all times and all nations, the great "Apostle of tongues" of St.. Paul in his Epistle to Ephesians in Ch. 4, 12-13.
True shepherding, in his words, is "the work of service to the fulfillment of the saints, for the building up of the Body of Christ, until we come to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, a perfect husband, to the measure of the full age of Christ."

From this it is abundantly clear that the task of every true shepherd is the constant, never-silent call of the flock to the ideal of holiness and all assistance in achieving this ideal — both in word and deed, and in particular, by example of his personal life.

And that such an ideal was put to us by God Himself, there can be no doubt about it, although many people do not like it in our time, and the modernity very reluctantly agrees with it. Finishing the first part of His Sermon on the Mount, the Lord said: "Wake up, you're done, even as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5, 48).

What is this perfection, like the perfection of our Heavenly Father, clarifies to us the holy. The Apostle Peter in his 1st Epistle of the Epistle, saying: "... according to the example of the Holy One who called you, be yourself holy in all actions. For it is written: awake the holy ones, as I am holy I am" (1 Peter 1, 15-16) .

Exhorting Solunyan to keep up with their wicked pagan life, sv. The Apostle Paul says bluntly that “God did not call us to uncleanness, but into holiness” (1 Thess. 4, 7), “this bo is the will of God — your holiness” (1 Sol. 4, 3).

Already from these few above-mentioned passages of the Holy Scripture it should be absolutely clear to everyone that the ideal of Christianity is holiness, and therefore true Christian shepherds should call and lead their flock not to anything else, but only to holiness, revealing in their an example of such a striving for the ideal of holiness.

This desire for holiness, required of a Christian, meets with itself, however, the strongest opposition in the sinful perversity of our human nature, poisoned by the poison of original sin. A struggle arises, and, moreover, it is a very difficult struggle, which requires a feat - a selfless, stubborn, tireless feat, in which the whole life of a true Christian, every true Christian, and not just a monk, should pass, as many modern Christians think of themselves other ideals.
Christian life is an ascetic life, a life that takes place in the tireless, never-ending feat of fighting with sin, with the sinful perversity of its nature for achieving the ideal of holiness.

The purpose of a true Christian shepherd is therefore nothing else but to guide their struggles, to help them in their struggle for the ideal of holiness, to teach them how to properly and lawfully work, for, according to . The Apostle Paul, "if anyone strives, is not crowned, if he walks illegally" (2 Tim. 2, 5).

That is why the true shepherd must first of all know well the correct and lawful way of the Christian life, he himself must go this way to serve as an example for his flock, and then teach them this way, helping them by all means at his disposal from the beneficial to the natural that are available to him for use in each individual case.

In our time, we find the highest example of such a pastoral ministry in the person of the greatest righteous person praised by us today, a prayer book and a miracle worker - our All-Russian shepherd, the memorable Fr. John of Kronstadt. If we delve into his life and pastoral work, if we carefully read at least a few pages from his wonderful diary, “My Life in Christ,” we will see that this is how he understood the Christian’s appointment, that Christian life was a feat for him the attainment of the ideal of holiness, and that he himself walked in precisely this way of pastoral service.

Here is a particularly characteristic place in this regard: “The task of our life is to unite with God, and sin completely impedes it; therefore, run around sin as a terrible enemy, as soul killers, because without God there is death, not life. Let us understand your purpose, We will always remember that the common Lord calls us to unite with Him "(vol. 1, p. 29).
Constantly instill this in your flock and must every true shepherd!

All of "My life in Christ" is full of these calls for fighting sin in man:

"Believe and firmly remember that you are a dual man: one is carnal, sick with passions, dilapidated, devilish, carnal seeker and in the carnal delivering life; he must be killed and in no way satisfy him, do not bow to his sinful, persevering, painful yelling, and the other — spiritual, new, healthy, Christ, seeking Christ in everything, living instead of the lusts of the world, and finding peace and life in Christ, not wanting anything in this world except for Christ who imputes nothing earthly, yes We will get Christ. As the requirements of that man centuries must be despised by all measures, because their fulfillment is deadly for the soul, so the demands of the latter must be fulfilled by all measures, because they lead to true and eternal life. Know every Christian and take upon yourself the difficulty to do what you know "(Vol. 1- y, p. 146).

Lively and figuratively talking about. John about this ceaseless internal struggle with sin, about this never-ending feat of the Christian life, comparing our soul with a bird that flies away at once when it is approached:

“The bird is cunning and cautious, it does not allow the catchers to catch themselves in the expanse of the world of God, and when they see that someone is approaching it and wants to grab it: it is now taking off from the ground and thus getting rid of those who catch it. So the Christian must be wise and is vigilant that the catcher is impotent and does not catch his soul: our soul is like a heavenly bird, the devil is an evil catcher, seeking to devour someone’s soul. Like a bird, uplifting grief, it is saved from the catcher, and when we see the enemy, the devil , catching our soul with earthly things, should leave them immediately He is not tied to them with his heart, not for an instant, and will fly up the grief with our thoughts to the Lord Jesus, our Savior, and thus we will easily get rid of the network of traps "(Vol. 1, p. 153)

What sorrow often complains about. John in his diary to the fact that modern Christians do not want to know this necessary for the salvation of the feat of the Christian life, that they live dissolutely at the whims of their corrupted hearts.

“One cannot eat constantly, smoke, one cannot turn human life into constant eating, drinking and smoking,” he says (although there are those who constantly almost eat, drink, smoke); so the devil achieved this through tobacco smoking; he turned life into smoking and the mouth, which is supposed to thank and praise the Lord, has made the furnace smoking. "The easier and the less you eat and drink, the thinner and easier the spirit becomes."

"A heart that is concerned about everyday things, especially unnecessary ones, leaves the Lord - the Source of life and the world and therefore loses life and tranquility, light and power" .... (vol. 1, p. 222). And therefore -

"Deny yourself sensual pleasures in the hope that instead of them you will receive higher, spiritual, divine pleasures" (vol. 1, p. 224).

Here are the foundations of genuine Christian asceticism leading to the ideal of holiness commanded by God!

But that is the only correct point of view on mortal life, which all true Christians should hold to, aiming at the achievement of the ideal of holiness:

"Real life is exile," teaches Fr. John: "cast him out," it is said, "The Lord is from a paradise of sweetness (Gen. 3, 23), and we all must strive hard through repentance and deeds worthy of repentance, to our fatherland. Vladyko, the coveted fatherland Co-creating me "(troparion on the blameless. on Saturday). Real life is the close path, the path of sorrows, deprivations, diseases. The closer this path, the more convincing, or rather, that we are on the true path, the wider the more certain that we are close to death. Real life is a daily, brutal, bitter war with the enemies of our salvation, especially with invisible spirits of the heavens of the heavens, who do not leave us a single day alone, but continually tricky and igniting our various passions and sting them in an intensely sensitive way. Therefore, remember that there is a continuous war against us; that it’s not time to rest, have fun and have fun, in this life given for preparation for the future, not when we are tempted by calamities, nor even when it seems to us that we are completely calm and happy, for example, we indulge in pleasures in the theater , in the evenings, when we draw on elegant clothes and costumes, when we indulge in the pleasure of the womb, whirl in merry dances, drive around in magnificent carriages and so on .; among all your worldly pleasures over you the greatest misfortune, man: you are a sinner, you are the enemy of God, you are in great danger of losing eternal life, especially if you live negligently, do not do works worthy of repentance. Above you is the wrath of your God, especially if you are not appeasing the God you offended by your prayer, repentance, correction. So, not to you pleasure, but rather to tears; pleasures must be rare, and then predominantly such pleasures as faith in spiritual festivals represent to you "(vol. 1, p. 252-253).

Who writes it to whom?

Monk - to monks?

Not! worldly shepherd, what was f. John, lay Christians living and saving in the world!
Is it not clear after this that the constant "Invisible Battle", which the ancient ascetic fathers, who left the world, commanded the monks, is obligatory not only for the monks, but also for the laity - for all in general who want to be true Christians ?!

Many other similar places we find in the wonderful diary of Fr. John of Kronstadt, which should be a reference book for every Christian believer who is jealous of his salvation, and in particular for every true shepherd who wants to follow the lofty example of Fr. John and be a true shepherd, and not a mercenary, herding, in the expression of the Word of God, only himself!

Deeply grieved about. John about such shepherds who, through negligence, do not teach and admonish their flock, as it should, do not lead them in this particular way to the ideal of holiness commanded to us.

“My God! What is the censure on our Orthodox faith and on us, the shepherds! Or, incidentally, maybe the shepherds are rightly said about us? There is a lot of our fault that Christians do not spend holidays like they should; we reprove, do not forbid, do not plead with all patience and teaching to celebrate holidays and live like a Christian in general. We speak little about idleness, drunkenness, lewdness, we don’t sin God’s word in the church of God against these evils that terribly have mastered Christians. not always weaned, in fear of the others, from the Holy Bowl of with our drunkenness and adultery, and through this contagious and vile vices we give more and more strength, we give weak penance in confession to people deserving strict church punishment, we do not follow, as it were, the execution of the penance that we impose upon them. Good God! And the shepherds and the flock are unresponsive before Thee. "Wesi, deviating, together with the uselessness, be: do not do good deed of us, even to one." 3, 12). What will finally be with the existing disorder in our lives? Lawlessness spreads over the land; the kingdom of the enemy is spreading, your kingdom is broken; there are few chosen ones of yours, in whose hearts you are resting, many servants of the devil, in whose hearts, like a thief, sits a primordial murderer. What will you do with us, Lord? The blood of your covenant cries from the earth, but your gospel voice does not penetrate the heart of Christians. Thy commandments in negligence, ecclesiastical statutes in disregard, - what do you do with us, Lord? Good lord send zealous figures into your helicopter, "not seeking their si" (1 Cor. 13, 5), but seeking your Thy Christ. Grant them jealousy for prophetic, apostolic power and wisdom, but they cultivate tirelessly day and night the cornfields of human hearts (vol. 1, p. 179-180).

So complained about. John about the shepherds, negligently related to their pastoral duties. But what would he say about the most recent modern shepherds who appeared in great numbers - alas! - even in our Orthodox Church, who set themselves completely different ideals of pastoral service: they themselves go in other ways and drag their flock towards completely different ideals, not wanting to know the ideal of holiness commanded to us by the Word of God ?!

This new trend in shepherding appeared during the life of Fr. John, but his "inconsiderable vacillation" was restrained to some extent, as long as Orthodox autocratic royal power existed in our Russia, setting limits to the spread of any anarchy. When tsarist Russia collapsed, then this modernism began to spread uncontrollably, resulting in the movement of the so-called "church churches" and "Renovationists." This movement, which set itself the goal of "reforming" our Orthodox Church, supposedly outdated, stagnant and backward from the century, instantly spread to other Orthodox countries, for which Orthodox Tsarist Russia has always been a firm pillar. The ideal of holiness has ceased to be the main, leading ideal of all pastors' activities. Instead, a completely different ideal appeared - the ideal of improving this temporary earthly life, building the Kingdom of God on earth, as these modern modernist-minded pastors like to express. This, in fact, is not something completely new. This is only the resurrection in the new forms, in the modern setting, of the ancient erroneous doctrine of the “thousand-year kingdom of Christ,” the so-called “chiliasm,” the doctrine of a resolutely and irrevocably condemned as heresy at the Second Ecumenical Council in 381 in Constantinople. However, these modern “chiliasts”, which appeared in the depths of our Orthodox Church, go much further than the ancient chiliasts, condemned by the Universal Church. They do not so much dream of the transformation of the spiritual side of human life on earth, as some of those, as of the adaptation of Christianity to modern life, that the Church should “keep up” with everything, keep up with the world and contribute to the purely earthly well-being of people.

These modern shepherds, the “neo-chiliasts,” accept all modern earthly life, far removed from true Christianity, from the ideal of holiness, as it is, everything in it is considered legitimate, and they do not think about that. so that this humble and moral-departed life should be raised again to the level of the requirements of Christianity, but only about how to “reconcile” Christianity with this life, how to combine it with the conditions of modern moral low life.

The main slogans of these modern shepherds, who are hardly believers truly in "the life of the next century", but believing in the "progress of mankind", are clearly expressed in the outlined at the so-called "All-Orthodox Congress" convened by the Constantinople Patriarchate from representatives of all Orthodox churches in 1923 year reforms. 


1) An introduction to the Orthodox Church of a married episcopate,

2) the introduction of the secondborn clergy,

3) the abolition of monasticism,

4) reduction of worship,

5) reduction of posts,

6) simplification of the clothing of the clergy with the abolition of wearing a beard and long hair and allowing the clergy to be completely secular, on a par with the laity, lifestyle, and

7) the introduction of a new calendar.

It is easy to see from this that the essence of the planned reforms consisted in abolishing the feat of Christian life in general, with letting everyone live as he wants, not restraining himself in any way and not restricting himself in any way.
If we recall at least those few quotations that we cited from the Holy Scriptures, at the beginning, as well as the thoughts we have indicated above about our great All-Russian shepherd, Fr. John of Kronstadt, it will become quite clear to us that this new movement in shepherding set itself essentially the task of overthrowing Christianity.
At the head of this movement was in his time (in 1923) the Patriarch of Constantinople Meletius IV, and then his successors, Gregory VII, Constantine VI and Vasily III. He is currently headed by Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople, and in America by his protege, Archbishop Jacob, who especially energetically propagandize some new era in Christianity and unite with the Roman Catholics and Protestants, despite their retreat from the true Christian faith.

Especially characteristic in this respect is the last public address of Archbishop James, about which the August issue of The Orthodox Observer tells us, at a meeting of clergy and laity of the Americas in Denver. In this speech, Archbishop. Jacob offers to look not backwards, but forward. “Our Church cannot go forward if its eyes are turned back,” he literally said.

But we know very well that everything that our St.. The Church is a manifestation to the world of the Incarnate Only Begotten Son of God, His suffering on the cross and death for us, His glorious resurrection and ascension to heaven, sending the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, founding the Church of Christ on earth and spreading it by preaching the Apostolic to all nations of the earth, martyred blood, Who appeared as the seed of Christianity and the foundation of the unshakable Church, Sts. The Fathers and teachers of the Church, who articulated her forever unshakable doctrine, reverend devotees, who showed us immortal examples of true Christian life in their unswerving pursuit of the ideal of holiness, all of the richest in its deep content, the history of our Church, are all “behind”, where we cannot but constantly turn our eyes, there it is by drawing for ourselves the gracious moral force. And ahead for us, as it is clear to teach the Word of God about it, only a progressive “retreat” (apostasy), the manifestation of the Antichrist, the Second Coming of Christ, the Last Judgment and eternal life: - either eternal bliss, or eternal endless agony.

That is why we don’t need to go forward, as Archbishop James urges us, but on the contrary: turning our gaze precisely to назад backward ’, we need to draw strength to endure disasters coming to the universe in order to be ready to stand before the Son of Man and give a kind answer at the Last Judgment of Christ. [...]

Therefore, our pastoral duty at the present time is to call for the Christian ideal of holiness with special force, trying to set an example in this, and then only, unlike modern false priests, apostates from true Christianity, we will be true shepherds and deserve praise from the Pastor Head- Christ on the great and terrible day of His glorious Second Coming.
+ Archbishop Averky

October 14/27, 1964.

О современных задачах пастырского служения.
Цель и задача истинного пастырства ясно указана нам величайшим столпом пастырского служения, который может быть живым образцом и примером для пастырей всех времён и всех народов, великим "Апостолом языков" св. Павлом в его послании к Ефесянам в 4 гл., 12-13 ст.
Истинное пастырство, по его словам, есть "дело служения к совершению святых, для созидания Тела Христова, доколе все придём в единство веры и познания Сына Божия, в мужа совершенного, в меру полного возраста Христова".
Отсюда совершенно очевидно, что задачей каждого истинного пасты­ря является постоянный, никогда не умолкающий призыв пасомых к идеалу святости и всяческое содействие им в достижении этого идеа­ла — и словом и делом и, в особенности, примером своей личной жи­зни.
А что такой именно идеал поставлен нам Самим Богом, в этом не может быть никаких сомнений, хотя многим это в наше время не нравится, и современность с этим весьма неохотно соглашается. Закан­чивая первую часть Своей Нагорной проповеди, Господь сказал: "Буди­те убо вы совершены, якоже Отец ваш небесный совершен есть" (Мф. 5, 48).
В чём же состоит это совершенство, подобное совершенству Отца нашего Небесного, уясняет нам св. Апостол Петр в своём 1-м соборном послании, говоря: " ... по примеру призвавшего вас Святаго и сами будьте святы во всех поступках. Ибо написано: будите свя­ты, якоже Аз свят есм" (1 Петр. 1, 15-16).
Увещевая Солунян отстать от прежней их порочной языческой жизни, св. Апостол Павел прямо говорит, что "не призва нас Бог на нечистоту, но во святость" (1 Сол. 4, 7), "сия бо есть воля Божия — святость ваша" (1 Сол. 4, 3).
Уже из этих немногих вышеприведенных мест Священного Писания должно быть всем и каждому совершенно ясно, что идеалом христианства является святость, а потому и истинные христианские пастыри должны призывать и вести свою паству не к чему-либо другому, а только к святости, являя и в своём собственном лице пример такого стремления к идеалу святости.
Это, требуемое от христианина стремление к святости встречает себе, однако, сильнейшее противодействие в греховной испорченности нашей человеческой природы, отравленной ядом первородного греха. Возникает борьба, и притом борьба весьма тяжкая, которая требует подвига — подвига самоотверженного, упорного, неустанного, в котором и должна проходить вся жизнь истинного христианина, каждого истинного христианина, а не только монаха, как думают многие современные христиане лишь по имени, ставящие себе иные идеалы.
Жизнь христианская есть жизнь подвижническая, жизнь, проходящая в неустанном, никогда не прекращающемся подвиге борьбы с грехом, с греховной испорченностью своей природы за достижение идеала святости.
Назначение истинно-христианского пастыря и состоит поэтому ни в чем ином, как именно в том, чтобы руководить этой борьбой своих пасомых, помогать им в их подвиге борьбы за идеал святости, учить их, как надо правильно и законно подвизаться, ибо, по словам св. Апостола Павла, "если кто и подвизается, не увенчивается, если незаконно будет подвизаться" (2 Тим. 2, 5).
Вот почему истинный пастырь должен прежде всего сам хорошо знать правильный и законный путь христианской жизни, сам должен идти этим путём, чтобы служить примером для своих пасомых, а затем и их учить этому пути, помогая им всеми средствами, какие-только имеются в его распоряжении, начиная с благодатных и кончая естественными, которые ему доступны для использования в каждом отдельном случае.
Высочайший пример такого именно пастырского служения в наше время мы находим в лице прославляемого ныне нами величайшего праведника, молитвенника и чудотворца — нашего всероссийского пастыря, приснопамятного о. Иоанна Кронштадтского. Если мы вникнем в его жизнь и пастырскую деятельность, если мы прочтём внимательно хотя бы несколько страниц из его замечательного дневника "Моя жизнь во Христе", то мы увидим, что именно так понимал он назначение христианина, что жизнь христианская была для него подвигом борьбы за достижение идеала святости и что сам он шёл таким именно путём пастырского служения.
Вот особенно характерное в этом отношении место: "Задача нашей жизни — соединиться с Богом, а грех совершенно препятствует этому; поэтому бегайте греха, как страшного врага, как убийцы души, потому что без Бога — смерть, не жизнь. Поймём же своё назначение, будем помнить непрестанно, что общий Владыка зовёт нас к соединению с Собою" (том 1-й, стр. 29).
Постоянно внушать это своим пасомым и должен каждый истинный пастырь!
Вся "Моя жизнь во Христе" полна этих призывов к борьбе с грехом, живущим в человеке:
"Верь и твёрдо помни, что ты двойственный человек: один — плотской, больной страстями, ветхий, диавольский, плотского ищущий и в плотском поставляющий жизнь; его надо умерщвлять и ни в чем ему не удовлетворять, не преклоняться на его греховные, настойчивые, болезненные вопли; а другой — духовный, новый, здоровый, Христов, во всем Христа ищущий, Христом живущий (вместо похотей мира) и во Христе обретающий покой и жизнь; кроме Христа ничего не желающий иметь в этом мире, вменяющий в ничто блага земные, да Христа приобретём. Как требования того человека всеми мерами нужно презирать, потому что их исполнение убийственно для души, так требования последнего надо всеми мерами исполнять, потому что они ведут к истинной и вечной жизни. Познай это всякий христианин и возьми на себя труд исполнять на деле познанное" (том 1-й, стр. 146).
Живо и образно говорит о. Иоанн об этой непрестанной внутренней борьбе с грехом, об этом никогда не прекращающемся подвиге христианской жизни, сравнивая душу нашу с птичкой, тотчас улетающей, когда к ней приближаются:
"Хитра и осторожна птичка, не даёт поймать себя ловцам на просторе мира Божия, и когда видит, что к ней приближается кто-нибудь и хочет схватить её: сейчас взлетает от земли вверх и таким образом избавляется от ловящих. Так и христианин должен быть мудр и бдителен, чтобы не поймал душу его ловец безплотный: душа наша, как птичка небесная, диавол — злобный ловец, ищущий поглотить чью-либо душу. Как птичка, воздетая горе, тем самым спасается от ловца, так и мы когда видим врага — диавола, ловящего нашу душу земными вещами, должны оставлять их немедленно сердцем своим, ни на мгновение к ним не привязываясь, и возлетать горе своими помышлениями ко Господу Иисусу, нашему Спасителю, и таким образом легко избавимся от сети ловчи" (том 1-й, стр. 153).
С какой скорбью часто сетует о. Иоанн в своём дневнике на то, что современные христиане не желают знать этого необходимого для спасения подвига христианской жизни, что они живут распущенно по прихотям своего развращённого сердца.
"Нельзя есть постоянно, курить, нельзя обратить жизнь человеческую в постоянное ядение, питие и курение, — говорить он (хотя есть и такие, которые постоянно почти едят, пьют, курят); так диавол достиг этого чрез курение табака; обратил жизнь в курение и уста, долженствующие благодарить и славословить Господа, сделал печью дымящейся. — Чем легче и меньше употребляешь и пищи и пития, тем тоньше и легче делается дух".
"Сердце, пекущееся о житейских вещах, особенно излишних, оставляет Господа — Источника жизни и мира и потому лишается жизни и спокойствия, света и силы".... (т. 1-й, стр. 222). А потому —
"Отказывай себе в чувственных удовольствиях в той надежде, что вместо них получишь удовольствия высшие, духовные, божественные" (т. 1-й, стр. 224).
Вот основы подлинного христианского аскетизма, ведущего к заповеданному нам Богом идеалу святости!
А вот та единственно-правильная точка зрения на земную жизнь, которой должны держаться все истинные христиане, ставящие себе целью достижение идеала святости:
"Настоящая жизнь есть изгнанничество", учит о. Иоанн: "изгнал его", сказано, "Господь из рая сладости (Быт. 3, 23), и мы все должны усиленно стремиться чрез покаяние и дела, достойные покаяния, к своему отечеству. Владыко, вожделенное отечество подаждь ми, рая паки жителя мя сотворяя" (тропарь на непорочн. в субботу). Настоящая жизнь есть тесный путь, путь скорбей, лишений, болезней. Чем теснее этот путь, тем убедительнее, вернее, что мы стоим на истинном пути, чем шире тем несомненнее, что мы близки к погибели. Настоящая жизнь есть ежедневная, жестокая, горчайшая война с врагами нашего спасения, особенно с невидимыми духами злобы поднебесными, не оставляющими нас ни один день в покое, но непрестанно над нами коварствующими и возжигающими в нас разные страсти и жалами их наичувствительным образом нас уязвляющими. Потому помни, что против нас ведётся непрерывная война; что не время покоиться, веселиться и развлекаться, в этой жизни, данной для приготовления к будущей, ни тогда, когда мы искушаемся бедствиями, ни даже тогда, когда нам кажется, что мы совершенно покойны и счастливы, когда, например, предаёмся удовольствиям в театре, на вечерах, когда рисуемся в нарядных одеждах и уборах, когда предаёмся наслаждению чрева, кружимся в весёлых танцах, разъезжаем в великолепных экипажах и проч.; среди всех твоих житейских удовольствий над тобою тяготеет величайшее несчастие, человек: ты — грешник, ты — враг Божий, ты — в большой опасности потерять вечную жизнь, особенно если живёшь нерадиво, не творишь дел, достойных покаяния. Над тобою тяготеет гнев Бога твоего, особенно если ты не умилостивляешь оскорблённого тобою Бога твоего молитвой, покаянием, исправлением. Итак, не до удовольствия тебе, но скорее до слез; удовольствия должны быть редки, и то по преимуществу такие удовольствия, которые тебе представляет вера в духовных празднествах" (том 1-й, стр. 252-253).
Кто и кому это пишет?
Монах — монахам?
Нет! мирской пастырь, каков был о. Иоанн, христианам-мирянам, живущим и спасающимся в миру!
Не ясно ли после этого, что постоянная "Невидимая брань", которую заповедовали древние отцы-подвижники, уходившие от мира, монахам, обязательна не только для монахов, но и для мирян — для всех вообще, желающих быть истинными христианами?!
Множество и других, подобных же мест находим мы в дивном дневнике о. Иоанна Кронштадтского, который должен быть настольной книгой у каждого верующего христианина, ревнующего о своём спасении, а в особенности — у каждого истинного пастыря, желающего следовать высокому примеру о. Иоанна и быть истинным пастырем, а не наёмником, пасущим, по выражению Слова Божия, лишь самого себя!
Глубоко скорбит о. Иоанн о таких пастырях, которые, по нерадению, не учат и не вразумляют своих пасомых, как надо, не ведут их таким именно путём к заповеданному нам идеалу святости.
"Боже мой! какое нарекание на нашу православную веру и на нас, пастырей! Или, впрочем, может быть, об нас пастырях и справедливо говорят? Есть много и нашей вины в том, что христиане не так проводят праздники, как должно; мы не обличаем, не запрещаем, не умоляем их со всяким долготерпением и учением проводить праздники и вообще жить по-христиански. Мы мало говорим о праздности, о пьянстве, распутстве; мы не гремим в церкви Божией словом Божиим против этих пороков, страшно овладевших христианами. Мы не всегда отлучаем, в страх прочим, от св. Чаши известных своим пьянством и прелюбодейством лиц, и даём через то этим заразительным и мерзким порокам всё более и более усиливаться; мы даём слабые епитимии на исповеди лицам, заслуживающим строгого церковного наказания, не следим, как бы следовало, за исполнением и тех епитимий, которые налагаем на них. Боже праведный! И пастыри и паства безответны пред Тобою. "Вси уклонишася, вкупе непотребни быша: несть из нас творяй благостыню, несть даже до единаго" (Римл. 3, 12). Что, наконец, будет при существующем безпорядке в нашей жизни? Беззаконие разливается по земле; царство врага распространяется, царство Твоё сокрушается; мало избранных Твоих, в сердцах коих Ты почиваешь, — много рабов диавола, в сердцах коих, как тать возседает исконный человекоубийца. Что сотворишь с нами, Господи? Кровь завета Твоего вопиет от земли, но евангельский глас Твой не проникает в сердце христиан. Заповеди Твои в небрежении, церковные уставы в попрании, — что сотвориши с нами, Господи? Господи! пошли ревностных деятелей в вертоград Твой, "не ищущих своих си" (1 Кор. 13, 5), а ищущих яже Христа Твоего. Даруй им ревность пророческую, апостольскую силу и мудрость, да возделывают они неутомимо день и ночь нивы сердец человеческих (т. 1-й, стр. 179-180).
Так сетовал о. Иоанн о пастырях, нерадиво относящихся к своим пастырским обязанностями. Но что сказал бы он о появившихся во множестве в самое последнее время модерных пастырях — увы! — даже в нашей Православной Церкви, которые ставят себе совсем другие идеалы пастырского служения: и сами идут иными путями и пасомых своих увлекают за собой в сторону совсем иных идеалов, не желая знать заповеданного нам Словом Божиим идеала святости?!
Это новое направление в пастырстве появилось ещё при жизни о. Иоанна, но "безчинное шатание" его сдерживалось в какой-то мере, пока существовала в нашей России православная самодержавная царская власть, полагавшая пределы распространению всякой анархии. Когда же царская Россия рухнула, тогда этот модернизм стал безудержно распространяться, вылившись в движение так называемых "живоцерковников" и "обновленцев". Движение это, поставившее себе целью "реформировать" нашу Православную Церковь, якобы устаревшую, закосневшую и отставшую от века, мгновенно перекинулось и в другие православные страны, для которых православная царская Россия всегда была твёрдой опорой. Идеал святости перестал быть главным, руководящим всей деятельностью пастырей идеалом. Вместо него явился совсем иной идеал — идеал благоустроения этой временной земной жизни, построение Царства Божия на земле, как любят выражаться эти современные модернистски-настроенные пастыри. Это, собственно, и не есть что-то совершенно новое. Это лишь воскрешение в новых формах, в современной обстановке, древнего ошибочного учения о "тысячелетнем Царстве Христовом", так называемого "хилиазма", — учения решительно и безповоротно осуждённого, как ересь, на Втором Вселенском Соборе в 381 году в Константинополе. Впрочем, эти современные "хилиасты", явившиеся в недрах нашей Православной Церкви, идут гораздо дальше, чем древние хилиасты, осуждённые Вселенской Церковью. Они не столько мечтают о преображении духовной стороны земной жизни человека, как некоторые из тех, сколько о приспособлении христианства к современной жизни, — о том, чтобы Церковь во всем "шла в ногу" с временем, не отставала от мира и способствовала чисто-земному благополучию людей.
Они, эти современные пастыри - "нео-хилиасты" принимают всю современную земную жизнь, далеко отошедшую от истинного христианства, от идеала святости, как она есть, все в ней считают законным, и думают не о том. чтобы эту принизившуюся и нравственно-опустившуюся жизнь поднять опять до уровня требований христианства, а лишь о том как бы христианство "примирить" с этой жизнью, как бы совместить его с условиями современной морально-принизившейся жизнью.
Главные лозунги этих современных пастырей, едва ли верующих по-настоящему в "жизнь будущего века", но зато верящих в "прогресс человечества", ярко выражены в намеченных на так называемом "Всеправославном Конгрессе", созванном Константинопольской Патриархией из представителей всех православных церквей в 1923 году, реформах. Это:
1) Введение в Православной Церкви женатого епископата,
2) введение второбрачия духовенства,
3) упразднение монашества,
4) сокращение богослужения,
5) сокращение постов,
6) упрощение одежды духовенства с упразднением ношения бороды и длинных волос и разрешение духовенству вполне светского, наравне с мирянами, образа жизни, и
7) введение нового календаря.
Как легко из этого видеть, сущность намеченных реформ состояла в упразднении подвига христианской жизни вообще, с предоставлением каждому жить, как он хочет, ни в чём себя не сдерживая и никак себя не ограничивая.
Если мы вспомним хотя бы лишь те немногие цитаты, которые мы привели из Священного Писания, — в начале, а также указанные нами выше мысли нашего великого всероссийского пастыря о. Иоанна Кронштадтского, то нам станет совершенно ясно, что это новое движение в пастырстве ставит себе, в сущности, задачу ниспровержение христианства.
Во главе этого движения стал в своё время (в 1923 году) Константинопольский Патриарх Мелетий IV, а затем его преемники — Григорий VII, Константин VI и Василий III. В настоящее время возглавляет его Константинопольский Патриарх Афинагор I, а в Америке — его ставленник Архиепископ Иаков, особенно напористо пропагандирующие какую-то новую эпоху в христианстве и объединение с римо-католиками и протестантами, не взирая на их отступления от истинной христианской веры.
Особенно характерно в этом отношении последнее открытое выступление Архиепископа Иакова, о котором повествует нам августовский номер "The Orthodox Observer", на собрании духовенства и мирян обеих Америк в Денвере. В этом своём выступлении Архиеп. Иаков предлагает смотреть не назад, а вперёд. "Не может наша Церковь идти вперёд, если её взоры обращены назад" — так буквально и сказал он.
А ведь мы отлично знаем, что всё то, на чём зиждется наша св. Церковь — явление в мир Воплотившегося Единородного Сына Божия, Его крестные страдания и смерть за нас, Его преславное воскресение и вознесение на небеса, ниспослание Духа Святаго на Апостолов, основание Церкви Христовой на земле и распространение её путём проповеди Апостольской всем народам земли, кровь мученическая, явившаяся семенем христианства и основанием непоколебимым Церкви, свв. Отцы и учители Церкви, ясно сформулировавшие её на веки незыблемое учение, преподобные подвижники, явившие нам безсмертные примеры истинно-христианской жизни в их неуклонном стремлении к идеалу святости, вся богатейшая по своему глубокому содержанию, история нашей Церкви, — все это "позади", куда мы не можем не обращать постоянно наших взоров, там именно почерпая для себя благодатную нравственную силу. А впереди для нас, как ясно учить об этом Слово Божие, только — всё дальше прогрессирующее "отступление" (апостасия), явление Антихриста, Второе Пришествие Христово, Страшный Суд и вечная жизнь: — или вечное блаженство, или вечные нескончаемые муки.
Вот поэтому-то никуда "идти вперёд", как призывает нас Архиепископ Иаков, нам не надо, а наоборот: обращая свои взоры именно "назад", надо там почерпать силы для перенесения бедствий, грядущих на вселенную, дабы быть готовыми стать пред Сыном Человеческим и дать добрый ответ на Страшном Суде Христовом. […]
А потому наш пастырский долг в нынешнее время — с особенной силой призывать к христианскому идеалу святости, стараясь самим давать пример в этом, и тогда только, в отличие от современных лжепастырей, отступников от истинного христианства, мы будем истинными пастырями и заслужить похвалу от Пастыреначальника-Христа в великий и страшный день Его славного Второго Пришествия.
+ Архиепископ Аверкий

14/27 октября 1964 года.